They say that birth, death, and taxes are the only three certainties in this world. Deciphering the U.S. tax codes can be intimidating and the ever-changing tax laws demand expert advice. If you enjoy tackling numbers and are fascinated with how tax laws impact individuals and corporations, then you might want to consider one of the 15 Most Affordable Online Master's in Taxation. This is an ideal career for you if you have exceptional analytical, math, and interpersonal skills.
With a Master of Science in Taxation you can pursue a number of careers in business, accounting, and financial operations. You might find yourself working in accounting firms, banks, corporations, law firms, insurance organizations, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, real estate companies, venture capital firms, or educational institutions. Possible careers include Accountant, Auditor, Banker, Chief Financial Officer, Financial Analyst, Financial Planner, and Tax Attorney, among others.
Why Become a Tax Advisor?
Tax advisors are in bigger demand than ever as the U.S. tax laws become more complex as the population ages. With baby boomers approaching retirement age, they continue to seek more financial expertise. Another major factor in the growth of the career field is that life spans are getting longer, leading to longer retirement periods.
Professional tax advisors and consultants are in particular demand, with a growth rate of about 15 percent through 2026. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for accountants and auditors will continue to grow at a rate of about 10 percent over the next few years. While the BLS estimates that the median pay for an accountant in 2018 was $70,500 per year, you can expect higher pay when you complete a Master of Taxation degree. According to PayScale, the average salary for those with an MTax degree is $87,000. As you move up in your career, you can claim even higher salaries. For example, PayScale estimates that a Senior Tax Manager with an MTax degree can expect an average salary of $129,945. As you move up the corporate ladder, that pay increase continues. The average salary for a Chief Financial Officer is $130,266, with some reporting salaries more than $200,000.
In addition to your degree, you may find that you need additional licenses, depending on your position. For example, you will need to be licensed to buy or sell stocks or insurance policies. You may need to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You can get specific information about licensure from the North American Securities Administrators Association. You may also need to get licensed as a Certified Public Accountant and/or a Certified Financial Planner. Most of the Master's of Taxation programs in our list meet the educational requirements to sit for the CPA or CFP exams. Most schools are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The AACSB-accreditation can help ensure you get a quality education with the highest academic standards.
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Each degree ranking features individual degree scores based upon student success, satisfaction, and overall financial payout after graduation. We are financial experts, after all. For more information about ADR content and methodology, please visit our About Us page.
#1. CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY-NORTHRIDGE
California State University-Northridge began in the Los Angeles area in 1958. Northridge is in the San Fernando Valley, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Today, there are more than 38,000 students across nine colleges. Cal State Northridge offers a Master of Science in Taxation. The 19-month program offers classes one night per week plus Saturdays. Students can join the classes in person or through the virtual classroom. There are no courses offered during the busy tax season. The program is in a cohort format, so you can complete the entire program with the same set of peers. Most faculty members in the program are CPAs and the MS program meets the 150-hour requirement for California CPA licensure.
To complete your MS in Taxation, you must first complete a core skills class in Tax Ethics, Research and Communication. Students take five courses in Core Knowledge. These in-depth courses include Income Tax Concepts, Income Taxation, and Accounting Methods. You will also complete three courses in your field of specialization. This might be the Taxation of Corporations, Family Wealth Preservation, or Real Estate Taxation. All students take a seminar on Contemporary Tax Planning Issues. You will complete a final directed comprehensive experience during your last semester. You have an opportunity to work with one of the CSUN programs for this project, including the Tax Challenge Project, the CSUN VITA Clinic, the Bookstein Low Income Taxpayer Clinic, and the student-operated Tax Development Journal, or the Bookstein Community Outreach Tax Clinic.
#2. FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY
Florida Atlantic University has a main campus on Boca Raton's Atlantic shore. Founded in 1961, there are now six campuses offering more than 170 degree programs. More than 30,000 students study through ten colleges. The College of Business offers a Master of Tax degree. To begin the MTX program at FSU, you must hold a bachelor's degree and submit GMAT or GRE scores. It is a selective program and FSU prefers students with undergraduate degrees in accounting or business. You cannot transfer master's credits in from another institution.
Once accepted into the MTX program, you complete 30 semester hours. Six of your courses are core courses. All students complete a course in Graduate Business Communication Applications. Your other core courses are Concepts of Federal Income Tax, Tax Research, Corporate Taxation, Partnership Taxation, and Estates and Trusts. You need three electives in taxation and one course in accounting. Your coursework at FSU prepares you for a tax career by focusing on technical competency, tax policy, and the ethical responsibilities of taxation professionals. The MTX program meets the education requirements for CPA licensure.
#3. UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a world-renowned research institute. It began in 1867 as Illinois Industrial University. It became the University of Illinois in 1885 and now has 15 Colleges and Instructional Units. Urbana-Champaign is in east-central Illinois, at an almost equal distance from Chicago, Indianapolis, and St. Louis. There are nearly 16,000 graduate and professional students studying at Illinois. The Department of Accounting ranks No. 3 in graduate programs according to U.S. News & World Report. It offers a Master of Accounting Science in Accountancy with a Taxation Concentration for those with a BS in Accountancy. You can complete the degree online through the iMSA program. The online program ranks No. 1 in Online Accredited Master's in Accounting Program by The Best Schools.
The MSA at Illinois is a one-year program, but the iMSA is more flexible. Your courses take place online in an interactive format. It includes a live global classroom component along with self-directed learning. You complete 32 semester hours at Illinois, of which 20 must be in accounting. The core curriculum focuses on analytics methods, financial reporting, and U.S. federal taxation. The iMSA program meets the education requirements you need to sit for the CPA exam.
#4. UNIVERSITY OF AKRON
The University of Akron began as Buchtel College in Ohio back in 1870. Today, there are 20,500 students from around the world. Akron offers online undergraduate and graduate degrees with the same expert faculty as their on-campus classes. Online students have the same access to Akron facilities including advisors, tutoring, the library, and a help desk for online support. All online learners begin with an orientation to explain how Brightspace, the online learning environment, works. Akron encourages those interested in the program to log in as a guest and dive into Brightspace. To apply, you need an undergraduate degree and results of the GMAT or similar. If you are a practicing CPA or an attorney with two years of experience, the entrance exam is not required.
Akron offers an online Master of Taxation program through the College of Business Administration School of Accountancy. The 30- to 36-credit MTax gives you intensive training in the tax field. You can complete the program in 15 months through the online program. You will complete 24 credits of taxation courses. If you do not have a business undergraduate degree, you will need to complete two foundation classes in the summer before your first year. Those courses are Financial Accounting and Federal Taxation. Your 24 credits of taxation courses include Tax Research, Corporate Taxation, and Tax Policy and Ethics. Electives give you a chance to specialize in such topics as Estate Planning, S Corporations, or Tax Crimes.
#5. UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA
The University of Alabama is the state's oldest public university. It began as a seminary of learning in 1818 before Alabama became a state. A year after statehood, in 1820, it became The University of the State of Alabama. There are now more than 38, 000 students enrolled at UA. In 2018-2019 alone, UA alumni and faculty won 15 Fulbright awards. The University of Alabama offers an online Juris Master in Taxation through the Hugh E. Culverhouse Jr. School of Law. The 30-credit, two-year program is for non-lawyers. It is ideal for business graduates and CPAs who want a taxation career. To apply for the JM in Taxation, you must have an undergraduate accounting or business degree and take the GRE or GMAT.
The Alabama JM in Taxation includes required courses in Personal Income Tax, Capital Transactions, Partnership Tax, Corporate Tax, Tax Procedure, and Tax Research. To get the advanced training in tax law, you complete business law electives and tax electives. The tax electives include Tax Accounting, Criminal Tax Procedure, International Tax, and Estate Planning. For your business law electives, you complete courses in Business Entities, Securities Regulation, Mergers and Acquisitions, and Business Bankruptcy. This is a cohort program and you begin studies with your peers in August. You will take an initial online orientation course to cover administrative policies and procedures. You will need to pass comprehensive exams in person at the Law School at the end of your first-year core courses.
#6. UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI
The University of Cincinnati, founded in 1870, has more than 44,000 students. U.S. News & World Report named the public research university, "Among the top tier of the Best National Universities." The same top quality faculty that teaches on campus also teaches the online courses. Through UC Online, you can complete a Master of Science in Taxation. The program ranks as No. 4 best graduate online public tax program by U.S. News & World Report. The MS in Taxation is ideal for tax professionals. The MS in Taxation requires an undergraduate degree and GMAT or GRE scores. You may apply for a test exemption if you hold a terminal degree or an active CPA license. While UC prefers a bachelor's degree in business, it is not required. If you do not have an undergraduate business degree, you will also need to complete the Business Basic Knowledge courses along with taxation courses. You can complete the 30-credit program in 24 months.
When you enroll in the online MS in Taxation, you take courses in seven-week terms. You complete 16 hours of Taxation courses. Those courses include Individual Tax, Corporate Tax, and Taxation of Subchapter S Corporations. You will also complete 14 hours of electives that include coursework in Partnership Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Practice & Procedure, Estate and Gift Taxation, or Consolidated Tax Returns. All students complete two Federal Tax Research capstones, one in individual taxation and one focusing on corporations. Each capstone is seven weeks and showcases your mastery of taxation research. The MS in Taxation is also available as an accelerated program that you can complete in 12 months. The courses in the program count toward the 150-hour education requirement to sit for the CPA exam.
#7. ST. JOHN'S UNIVERSITY-NEW YORK
St. John's University is a Catholic and Vincentian university founded in New York in 1870. The main campus is in New York City but it is now a global university. There are four campuses in New York, one in Rome, one in Paris, and the online program. St. John's has some of the "Best 300 Professors" in America according to The Princeton Review. St. John's offers several online graduate programs, drawing on the same high-quality professors as in the on-campus programs. One of those degrees is a Master of Science in Taxation. The MST is through the Peter J. Tobin College of Business. It ranked No. 45 on the Best Online Graduate Business Program by U.S. News & World Report. If you want a leadership role in the taxation industry, this 12- to 24-month program is ideal. To apply for the program you must have a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.25. You will also need to submit GMAT or GRE scores.
During your 31-credit MST program, you study Internal Revenue code, treasury rulings, tax regulations, and tax law. You get practical experience translating those laws and guidelines to real-world practice. To complete the MST, your online program includes four courses. Those are Tax Research and Writing, Corporate Taxation, Partnerships and Partners, and a Research Project. You complete the research project during your final 12 credits and produce a publishable article. You also complete seven electives, giving you a chance to customize your program. You can select from Individual Tax Planning, International Taxation, Real Estate, Practice and Procedure, or Tax Accounting. You can also create a three-credit internship in taxation, where you have a chance to get hands-on, supervised experience. For the internship, you will also complete a research paper and turn in a journal of your accomplishments.
#8. NOVA SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY
Nova Southeastern University, based in Fort Lauderdale, began as a technology school in 1964. In the beginning, students could only receive a graduate degree in the physical or social sciences from Nova University of Advanced Technology. In 1981, a group of physicians created Southeastern University of the Health Sciences. It was logical for the two schools to merge in 1994, creating Nova Southeastern University. Today, NSU offers undergraduate and graduate degrees. It is one of the Top 200 Best Colleges according to U.S. News & World Report. You can complete a Master of Taxation through NSU, either by attending alternate weekends on campus or online. The 36-credit program begins three times each year in August, January, or May. You need a bachelor's degree to apply for admission to the program.
The taxation program is a blend of practical tax practice and conceptual understanding. You can complete the Master of Taxation in 21 months. All students must begin with a course in Internet Technology. You will also take seven disciplinary courses. These include Taxation of Individuals, IRS Practice and Procedure, Federal Taxation of Partnerships, and Corporate Taxation. You also select five electives in taxation. These can focus your studies on such topics as Tax Policy, International Transactions, Real Estate Taxation, or Fiduciary Income Taxation.
#9. NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY
Northeastern University, which has been a part of the Boston educational scene since its founding in 1898, is a private research school. It ranks as one of the top 50 universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report. The university is home to nine colleges and schools with more than 90 majors and concentrations. The D'Amore-McKim School of Business has more than 5,635 undergraduate and graduate students. You can complete an online Master of Science in Taxation at Northeastern. It ranks No. 37 in Best Online Graduate Business Programs by U.S. News & World Report. You need an undergraduate degree for admission and ou should have at least one course in taxation before applying.
Northeastern's Online MS in Taxation is a 30-credit program, which you can complete in as few as 16 months. You begin by selecting one of two tracks: Taxation of Entities or Taxation of Individuals. No matter which of the tracks you choose, you begin with a core of five courses. These courses are Federal Tax Issues and Analysis; Corporations and Shareholders; Estate and Gift Taxation; Partners and Partnerships; and Tax Research, Practice, and Ethics. You then complete five courses in your track. If you choose the Entity track, you will take State and Local Taxation; International Taxation (both inbound and outbound); Advanced Flow Through Entities; and Tax Accounting for Income Taxes. If you select the Individual track, you will complete courses in Retirement Plans; Income Taxation of Trusts and Estates; Financial Planning for Investments; Financial Planning for Insurance; and Planning for Estate Tax Issues. All classes are asynchronous, so you can complete the outlined requirements at your own pace. You will have a peer group of about 20 students which helps with discussion and feedback.
#10. UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
The University of Southern California is one of the world's best research universities. Since its founding in Los Angeles in 1870, it has become a leader in arts, technology, and business. Today, there are more than 47,500 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs. Through the USC Marshall School of Business, you can complete an online Jennifer and James R. Parks Master of Business Taxation for Working Professionals. For acceptance to the USC Master of Business Taxation, you must have one year of full-time work experience in the taxation industry. You must also have economics and intermediate financial accounting classes before admission. You will need to submit GMAT scores, which can be waived for certified CPAs.
The online Master of Business Taxation is a 10-course program. You can complete it in as few as 20 months but you may take longer if necessary. The program begins in Fall or Summer. You will take most courses in a synchronous format. You will meet once a week for 60 to 90 minutes to discuss the week's concepts and ask and answer questions. You will then complete your coursework on your own time throughout the week. The program requires five core courses and five electives. Your core courses are Tax Research and Professional Responsibilities; Tax Theory and Ethics; Taxation of Partnerships; Taxation of Corporations; and Communication for Accounting and Tax Professionals. Your five electives give you an opportunity to customize your studies. Courses might include corporate taxation, international tax, income tax, federal tax procedure, or estate and gift tax.
#11. DEPAUL UNIVERSITY
DePaul University in Chicago is the largest Catholic university in the country. From its founding as St. Vincent's College in 1898, the university has grown into what U.S. News & World Report ranks as one of the Best National Universities. There are more than 300 degree programs and almost 23,000 students. DePaul offers an online MS in Taxation. The MSTax, designed for working tax professionals, examines tax statutes, regulations, and rulings. It examines the Internal Revenue Code. You can enroll in any of the four quarters and DePaul invites students in Chicago to attend the Kellstadt Power Hour evening reception. You must hold a bachelor's degree, but no GMAT or GRE is required for admission to the MSTax program.
DePaul's MSTax program requires 12 courses, for a total of 45 credits. You can complete the program in one full-time year or up to three years in part-time study. You will take eight required courses and use taxation electives for your other four courses. You must have completed either Principles of Accounting or an introductory taxation course before admission. Your required courses include Tax Research; Taxation of Corporations; Tax Accounting; and Writing for Tax Professionals. You will also be required to complete one international tax course. Your electives can include Partnerships; Consolidated Returns; Estate and Gift Taxation; Taxation of Real Estate; or Tax Exempt Organizations.
#12. UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAVEN
The New England countryside is home to the University of New Haven, founded on the Yale campus in 1920. The private, coeducational university has more than 7,000 students, including online students around the world. The University of New Haven is now a member of the New American Colleges and Universities. It has five colleges offering undergraduate and graduate degrees. Along with the main New Haven campus, there are three other Connecticut campuses, one in Italy, and an online program. You can complete the Master of Science in Taxation online through the University of New Haven. The 30-credit program is open to accountants, CPAs, and those with a bachelor's degree.
You can complete the degree in real-time, online, or through a hybrid version in just one year. Classes meet ten times within an eight week period. You complete 21 credits of required courses. Those include Fundamentals of Federal Income Taxation; Taxation of Property Transactions; Taxation of Business Entities; International Taxation; and Federal Tax Practice and Procedure. You will also complete a Research Project in Federal Income Taxation as part of your core program. You must have 15 graduate hours in taxation before the research project. You also take three elective classes. These help focus your specialization in your tax practice. It might include courses in Corporate Income Taxation, Qualified Retirement Plans, or Tax-Exempt Organizations. As a student at the University of New Haven, you also have access to the school's Career Development Center. As part of your online program, you have local and remote access to online research services including LexisNexis, CCH, Bloomberg BNA, and more.
#13. UNIVERSITY OF DENVER
The University of Denver sits in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It began as the Colorado Seminary in 1874. Today it is home to about 12,000 students. It ranks among the Top 100 Universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report. There are more than 100 undergraduate degrees and 120 graduate programs. You can complete a Master of Tax through the Sturm College of Law. You can take the program online, experiencing the actual classroom via high-quality recordings. You must have an undergraduate degree to apply to the program. You will also need to submit GMAT scores. If you have a CPA license, you may ask for a GMAT waiver.
The Graduate Tax Program helps you become a tax professional. You must complete eight required taxation courses. Those include Civil & Criminal Tax Procedure; Corporate Taxation; Property Transactions; and Tax Principles, Research & Writing. You will complete the rest of the program through electives. There is an Estate Planning track and a Corporate Taxation track available. You may elect to take an externship to help you gain hands-on work experience under faculty supervision. You may also select an independent study for no more than two semesters. If you complete an independent study, you will produce a publishable work at the end of the study. You have a chance to gain experiential learning in tax during your studies at DU through the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic. LITC is a referral source for Denver's U.S. Tax Court.
#14. VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY
Villanova University, only 12 miles outside Philadelphia, is the country's only Augustinian Catholic university. There are six schools and colleges serving 6,500 undergraduates and 3,500 graduate and law students. It is a Top 50 national university for 2019 according to U.S. News & World Report. You can complete the 30-credit Master of Taxation through the Charles Widger School of Law. It is available in a fully online format. You can complete the program in 24 months or expand it to five years. To apply for the program, you need a bachelor's degree in accounting or business. You must also have passed the CPA exam or a GMAT/GRE within the past five years.
The MT degree gives you a deep understanding of tax law. You also get hands-on experience through experiential learning opportunities. To receive your MT from Villanova, you will need to complete a program of six core courses. Those include Survey of Tax; Taxation; Taxation of Corporations; and Partnership Taxation. You will then select six electives, totaling 12 hours, to complete the degree. Your electives might include Tax Procedure; International Tax; State & Local Tax; Wealth Tax; Employee Benefits; or Executive Compensation. Weekly courses take place live online. Each one is about 60 minutes and broadcasts in the evening. While the MT program encourages students to attend the live session online, it is also recorded for those times when you cannot be there for the synchronous program.
#15. BENTLEY UNIVERSITY
Bentley University, founded in 1917, is in the Boston suburb of Waltham. The private university began as a school of accounting and finance. It remains focused on business for about 5,200 undergraduate and graduate students. Bloomberg Businessweek ranks Bentley as one of the 100 Best Business Schools in the country. Bentley offers an MS in Taxation, which ranks No. 29 in the "Best Online Business Programs 2019" by U.S. News & World Report. You can complete the MST program either on campus or online. All classes are synchronous, giving you an opportunity to interact with other students and your instructor, even from a distance. The MST helps you research and analyze tax facts; develop and implement tax strategies; and explore tax ethics.
Bentley's MST program requires ten courses. You complete five core courses. Those courses are Professional Tax Practice; Federal Taxation; Transactions; Corporations and Shareholders; and Multi-Jurisdictional Taxation. Your five electives help you develop a career in taxation or financial planning. Courses might include Mergers and Acuisitions; Intellectual Properties; Tax Accounting Problems; or International Tax Practice. Bentley also offers an internship in tax practice. This gives you a chance to integrate real-world experience with classroom courses. You will be required to submit a research paper based on your internship. Bentley's MST also offers a practicum in Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic. During this course, you will conduct fieldwork under the direction of a faculty supervisor. Along with the hands-on work, you will complete a tax research paper. The program helps you meet the academic requirement needed to sit for the CPA exam.